7. Saccharum sinense Roxburgh, Pl. Coromandel. 3: t. 232. 1818.
竹蔗 zhu zhe
Saccharum officinarum Linnaeus subsp. sinense (Roxburgh) Burkill; S. spontaneum Linnaeus var. sinense (Roxburgh) Andersson.
Perennial. Culms 3–4 m tall, 3–4 cm in diam., many-noded, solid, softly pilose below inflorescence. Leaf blades ca. 100 × 3–5 cm, glaucous, glabrous, midrib large, white, margins serrate; ligule ca. 2 mm. Panicle 30–60 cm, axis with white silky hairs; rachis internodes pilose. Spikelets ca. 4.5 mm; callus hairs 2–3 times length of spikelet; lower glume lanceolate, dark brown; lower lemma oblong-lanceolate; upper lemma linear, 1.2–3 mm or reduced, awnless. Lodicules glabrous. Anthers 3, 1.5–2 mm. Fl. and fr. Nov–Mar. 2n = 106–120*.
* Cultivated. S Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [of cultivated origin; cultivated elsewhere].
Canes of this form of cultivated sugarcane were sent from Guangzhou to Calcutta in 1796, establishing its cultivation in India. Like Sac-charum barberi, this is a primitive form of sugarcane of hybrid origin with introgression from wild species. A number of different clones exists, and these are usually included in S. officinarum as the Pansahi group, of which the best known is the Uba cane. The clone Tekcha, which was cultivated in Taiwan for many years, also belongs here. Sac-charum sinense clones have been used in breeding programmes, and many modern cultivars have this species in their ancestry.
The leaf blades and uppermost part of the culms are used for forage. The whole culm except the apex is used for sugar and medicine.